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Science
LEADING EDGE
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Thursday 21:00-21:30
Leading Edge brings you the latest news from the world of science. Geoff Watts celebrates discoveries as soon as they're being talked about - on the internet, in coffee rooms and bars; often before they're published in journals. And he gets to grips with not just the science, but with the controversies and conversation that surround it.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 2 February
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GEOFF WATTS
Geoff Watts
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Thursday 2 February 2006
The diameter of 2003 UB313
The diameter of 2003 UB313 compared with that of Pluto, Charon, Earth, and the Moon.

Geoff Watts returns with a new series of Leading Edge. In the programme this week:

State of the Union Address by President Bush

In his annual message to the USA, President Bush has asked Congress to pass legislation to prohibit "the most egregious abuses of medical research - human cloning in all its forms". Geoff Watts talks to Dr Stephen Minger, director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at Kings College London on how this issue is perceived by many Americans and whether George Bush will find the support he needs for this bill to be passed in Congress.

Tenth 'Planet' Larger than Pluto

Last Summer came the announcement that our Solar System potentially has a tenth planet. It is called 2003 UB313 and is the most distant object ever seen in the Solar System, in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune. This week, researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany will announce just how big they think it is. Their measurements suggest that its diameter is around 3,000km, surpassing that of Pluto at 2,300km. Professor Frank Bertoldi argues that as this icy body is bigger than Pluto then it must be given the same status.

Neutrino News

Ultrahigh energy cosmic waves have been observed using the AMANDA South Pole telescope. Physicists are hoping that along with these waves are ultrahigh energy cosmic neutrinos too which, if detected, will give us more evidence to endorse the existence of other dimensions than our own.

Geoff speaks to lead researcher Luis Anchordoqui about his work and also physicist and writer Marcus Chown on the wider implications of being able to monitor neutrino activity.

Satellite Seals

Southern Elephant Seals are being used to collect research data on climate change from the oceans around the Antarctic. These seals are fantastic marine mammals, swimming vast distances in the world's coldest and stormiest seas. They can dive 100s of metres into the depths and because of this it's thought that they could be useful to oceanographers studying currents and ocean circulation in the Earth's Polar Regions.
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